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Author Topic:   Thailand Dragon Banner Fragment??
Richard posted 2/27/03 0:25 AM     Click here to send email to Richard  
Hello my friends, It seems way to quiet out there so I thought I'd post another to celebrate our new found heat and light!! This came via a friend in Thailand. The weaving is approximately 40 cm x 120 cm, with the border it is 60 cm x 140cm. The textile is older but the boarder looks as if it was added recently. The composition is silk and cotton and two of the photos posted combined will make the entire piece of two dragons and maybe a lobster? My thoughts are that it is a banner fragment. What are your ideas? Should I remove the recent boarder? All the best, Richard

Sandra Shamis posted 2/27/03 0:54 AM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi Richard,Check your link as I was unable to access your photo. From your description, it sounds like a "tung" or temple banner, used inside and out of a Buddhist Temple. One cue to age and use is silk thread weaving on cotton. This is found on older textiles used as "tung", to make them stronger. Of course I won't know for certain until I have a good look, but the dragons sound like 'naak', water serpents; lobsters, maybe not. Don't try and remove any backing without professional advice. I look forward to the
Sandra Shamis posted 2/27/03 5:29 AM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi Richard, Your new piece is unlike anything I've ever seen; it is much too figurative to be simply Thai. My guess is that it may be Shan, or even further into China, from a Daic group, by weavers greatly influenced by Sinitic imagery. The smaller design is a butterfly, often used to fill a gap in T'ai weaving. It is rare and beautiful. Enjoy! PS.Why does this "tung" also strike me as Indonesian from the Lesser Sun
posted 2/27/03 8:03 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Richard and Sandie, I can get the link to work and I guess that Sandie did later judging by her second comment. It certainly does look to be subject to considerable influence from China and more Han than Bouyei (or Miao). I will have a proper look and go through some references in my library. It is certainly very vibrant and full of life - 'look at me!' Waving that at the new year would surely bring lots of luck. Pamela

Sandra Shamis   posted 2/27/03 8:22 PM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis
[Hi Richard, I went back for a second look and add these: since both dragons face the same direction, this piece may have been cut from a larger textile where there were two dragons facing the opposite direction, and would explain the need for backing, and reflect symmetrical style Can you check the selvage for me? Is there applique on the piece as well? The strips are also interesting and may be used to date the textile. Sandie p.s. those stripes look very Tim
  posted 2/27/03 9:55 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela
In Michael Howard's Textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam there are several photos (pps 259-267) of Tai Muang tube skirts and the hems are interesting. Some are figurative and there are dragonlike representations. Pamela

Richard   posted 2/27/03 11:48 PM     Click here to send email to Richard
Thanks for all your comments. I can add the following: There is no applique on the piece. I can not check the selvage as an indigo cotton border has been recently added. I agree the stripes look similar to some of the Timor ikats that are in my collection. Thanks again, Richard

Susan Stem   posted 2/28/03 3:03 AM     Click here to send email to Susan Stem  
Greetings all- what Richard has is a sarong/tubeskirt hem. Pamela's reference to Michael Howard's recent book is the best one I can come up with. Here in Chiang Mai I see lots of these, and have two older ones on my site. My sources here tell me they are Lao because they get them from Lao traders, which fits with Dr. Howard's text about Lao traders going to Nghe An province in Vietnam to buy Tai Muang textiles to sell in Thailand (p.110 Textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam); the Lao traders are not divulging their source in Vietnam probably. Usually I see these still in tubular form; some are older, with natural dyes, and used; others are new, brighter, but with the same motifs. Do read what Dr. Howard has to say, as it is directly pertinent. Nice piece Richard!

Sandra Shamis posted 2/28/03 9:17 PM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi everybody. I think Susan may be onto something, but normally a pha sin bottom piece would have been sewn on the body of the pha sin and probably be done in chok, and usually geometric. It may be possibly the sin itself, and the stripes on the top would be used as the tuck -in piece, and the bottom stripes used as the end piece, but that doesn't go along with pha sin structure. For shame Richard, for refusing to rip up this piece in the name of Science.
posted 2/28/03 11:32 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela    
Sandie, all the Tai Muang 'seen lai' (as Michael & Kim Be Howard refer to the tube skirts) shown in their book as referred to above have narrow stripes either side of the major pattern area on the bottom of the skirt/sarong. There are four Tai Muang women shown on the front cover of the book with such skirts - the image on my bibliography page will probably be too small to see but the lighter blur at the bottom is major pattern with the stripes bordering top and bottom of this major pattern. I do recommend the book. Pamela

Sandra Shamis posted 3/1/03 7:51 PM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis
Thanks Pamela for the bibliographic reference. Now that I'm feeling better it's time to catch up on my reading to see whats new in the seasian textile world. Please feel free to make further references, My husband and I have done some work with Ande, so anything from White Lotus is easily got. I'm motivated to get even better so I can join the next sojourn on the Moken Queen! All the best.
posted 3/2/03 12:54 AM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
I have been doing some research this morning about Tai Dam mosquito nets and was using an article by Howard & Howard in a Textile Museum journal published in 2001. There was a complicated discussion on defining Black Thai, White Thai, Tai Dam, Tai Muang etc. I have typed out some of the text and loaded onto a web page. It all goes to show that identifying textiles is a VERY challenging business.

posted 3/2/03 1:09 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
I have a question for Richard. Is the dragon border embroidery or weaving? And that might not be such an easy question to answer as it sounds since the embroidery style so often emulates weaving. In the same article by Howard and Howard above there is reference to Tai Muang 'distinctive skirts'.... "The most common type of skirt (seen lai) is made of three separate pieces sewn together: a plain white waistband, a plain black cotton body, and a decorative hem piece (teen seen) with bright multicolored embroidered patterning (figs 20, 21). The most common motifs found on more traditionally embroidered hem pieces are variously shaped stylized dragons. In recent years these are a much wider variety of highly individualistic embroidered patterns in a multitude of bright colors. The decorative embroidery of the hem pieces varies according to individual taste rather than by community or region....." There is more info about other Tai Muang skirts with separate woven hems and borders of supplementary weft (with geometric, human or animal figures) and bands of plain stripes.

Richard posted 3/2/03 6:41 PM     Click here to send email to Richard  
Hello All, The dragons appear to be a combination of both weaving and embroidery. The main body is woven and the decorations appear to be applied embroidery. Closer examination shows that the striped panels have been added and the piece is made from three separate panels. Iím getting more convinced that I should remove the indigo border and back so that I can examine it in more fully. Any thoughts? Best regards, Richard

posted 3/2/03 7:47 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Richard, I think that my fingers would be itching to remove the indigo border and backing too! Always difficult to say! If something is not 'complete' as it was made to be - especially if it is an item of clothing - I feel more relaxed about making some changes. If it is a pristine, complete item I find it hard to touch it! Pamela
Sandra Shamis posted 3/2/03 11:49 PM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi Richard, If you're going to"dis-attach" this piece, please try and get someone with experience to do it, ie a professional alterater for example. It won't be the first time that pieces are mixed up for sale. As for T'ai Khao, one piece I have is is woven with extremely heavy cotton and backing. T'ai Dam is probably the easiest to identify because their garments are made with very dark indigo, and embroidered, using among other things, mirrors ala Indic style.These problems are all over the T'ai word, and include T'ai Lu and Lanna styles a
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